LARAC appoints new chair in Cathy Cook

LARAC has appointed its new Chair, with Cathy Cook becoming the eleventh person to assume the role, replacing the incumbent Carole Taylor in January 2022.

Cook currently holds the position of Vice-Chair within the company, as well as occupying the post of Senior Advisor for ReLondon, having worked with and within several local authorities throughout her career.

Cathy Cook LARACThe appointment comes due to the approaching expiration of Carole Taylor’s contract, with the role limited to a maximum four-year term. LARAC has confirmed that Taylor will retain the position of North West Regional Representative on the Executive after standing down –– she has held the office since 2002, which makes her the second longest-serving member of the body altogether.

James Ward will be replacing Cook as Vice Chair. Currently working for Kingston upon Hull City Council, Ward acts as the Yorkshire and Humber Regional representative for LARAC, having been a member of the Executive since July 2019.

Once settled into the role, one of Cook’s first tasks will be to supervise the generation of a new four-year Business Plan for the company, with LARAC’s existing agenda set to expire by the end of 2021. She will also be expected to ‘lead the transition’ towards a new business structure in response to the impending staffing changes across the organisation.

Cathy Cook, incoming Chair of LARAC, commented: “It is a privilege to become the next LARAC Chair at a crucial time in its development. I am looking forward to working with the wider industry on the important policy developments that will come forward in the next couple of years and representing our local authority members.

“With so much change and uncertainty it is even more important that LARAC works hard on behalf of its members, and I intend to give them the best representation possible. I am pleased that James will be taking on the role of Vice Chair to work with me, and Durk, the other Vice Chair, in what is an exciting time for LARAC.”

Cook continued, saying this of her predecessor: “Carole has steered LARAC through some turbulent times whilst also overseeing a sustained period of growth. She has represented local authorities with great skill and has ensured that the voice of LARAC and our members has been heard in the debates and discussions that have taken place. She has overseen the production of both sets of LARAC consultation submissions and the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, all huge efforts in their own rights, let alone taken together.”

Carole Taylor, outgoing Chair of LARAC, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair of LARAC and feel as an organisation we have grown over the past four years, continuing the work of previous Chairs before me. The past two years in particular have been tough for our members and that shows no sign of easing. Cathy knows the industry extremely well and I am pleased she is taking on the role of Chair and I know LARAC will continue to grow under her leadership”.

Incoming Vice Chair, James Ward, said: “Local authorities will need to be at the heart of the discussion on policy development for consistent collections and EPR on packaging and I am keen to ensure that our members input meaningfully to these discussions.”